Telangana: Hundreds of migrant workers walk home in lockdown

On Thursday, around 30 migrant workers from Ipalapally village of Padara mandal, who had come from Mantralayam in Kurnool district of AP for harvesting chilli crop a month ago were seen walking along with their family members

By Author  |  Published: 27th Mar 2020  11:21 am
Telangana

Nagarkurnool: Desperation among migrant workers from Telangana and AP trying to cross the border on either sides has become not only a herculean task for their families to try to return to their native places, but has also posed a great challenge for police department in both the states. Health authorities are also wary of susceptibility of the migrant workers’ family members to covid-19 virus during their long-walk to their homes.

On Thursday, around 30 migrant workers from Ipalapally village of Padara mandal, who had come from Mantralayam in Kurnool district of AP for harvesting chilli crop a month ago were seen walking along with their family members including children, carrying all their belongings. After the nationwide lockdown, they had become restless and had decided to go back to Mantralayam.

After walking 11 km, Venkatesh, a native of Udimilla village in Padara mandal, a PG student of Osmania University, saw them walking with their children and asked them why they were travelling during the lockdown. He arranged for a vehicle to take them to Padara police station and spoke with the police to arrange for some relief to the workers.

However, despite Padara SI Suresh trying his best to convince them that he would speak with the village administration to arrange for accommodation and food for them till the end of the lockdown, they were insisting on heading back home walking.

Sub-Inspector Suresh said that the workers were not at all in a position to listen, though children as young as 8-10 years were seen carrying luggage along with the elders, who had resolved to walk over a hundred kilometre distance to Mantralayam, which was an impossible task, as they could be stopped by police on the way at several locations and even though they might be able to reach Pullur check-post near Alampur, the AP police would not allow them to enter Kurnool district.

While this is just case of one group of migrant workers, there could be hundreds, if not thousands who may be walking back home this way. This poses additional burden on the already exhausted healthcare system, as there is a grave chance of these workers and their families falling sick during their long journey on foot.

There are strict instructions to police in both the states to prevent anyone from crossing the borders and if anybody decides to cross-over, they would have to be ready to be quarantined. This, which may sound simple, could be difficult to monitor.

Unless the district administration in all the districts in Telangana and AP give instructions to sarpanches and panchayat secretaries to ensure no migrant workers be allowed to move out of the villages where they might be working and also to take steps to stop migrant workers in transit and ensure food, accommodation and basic facilities are provided to them with immediate effect; this could spiral into a big challenge for all line-departments working to contain the deadly Corona virus from transmitting and preventing the two Telugu-speaking states from entering stage-3, which could be difficult to control.


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